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Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML (Microsoft Windows Development Series) [Kindle Edition]

Jeremy Likness
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“Jeremy builds real apps for real customers. That’s why I can heartily recommend this book. Go out and write some great apps…and keep this book handy.”
—From the Foreword by Jeff Prosise

Build Exceptionally Immersive and Responsive Touch-Based Windows Store Apps for Windows 8 with C# and XAML

This is the first practical guide to building breakthrough applications for Windows 8 from project templates through publication to the new Windows Store. Microsoft “MVP of the Year” Jeremy Likness helps you combine your existing developer skills with new Visual Studio 2012 tools and best practices to create apps that are intuitive and innovative. His guidance and insight will help you dive into Windows 8 development—and gain a powerful competitive advantage for years to come.

Likness illuminates the entire apps lifecycle, from planning and Model-View-View Model (MVVM) based design through coding, testing, packaging, and deployment. He covers both business and consumer apps, showing how Windows 8/WinRT development builds upon and contrasts with older WPF and Silverlight approaches.

Using carefully crafted downloadable code examples and sample projects, Likness shows how to make the most of new platform features, including integrated social networking, search, contracts, charms, and tiles. Throughout, he addresses crucial development challenges that have only been discussed on MSDN, blog posts, and Twitter feeds—and never with this depth and clarity before.

Coverage includes
• Mastering real-world Windows 8 development for all devices and form factors • Understanding the new WinRT framework and the unique characteristics of Windows 8 apps
• Designing apps that are faster, more responsive, do more with less, and maximize battery life
• Creating exceptionally fluid interfaces with VS 2012 templates, built-in animations, and XAML
• Building apps that respond consistently to multiple forms of input, including complex touch manipulations
• Using contracts and charms to expose services or enable users to do so
• Providing information to users through Live Tiles even when your app isn’t running
• Connecting your app seamlessly to multiple data sources, including social networks and cloud storage
• Syndicating rich, network-based content
• Using Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM)
• Securing Windows 8 apps through authentication and authorization
• Efficiently testing, debugging, packaging, and deploying apps

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Product Description

From the Back Cover


About the Author

Jeremy Likness is a principal consultant at Wintellect, LLC. He has worked with enterprise applications for more than 20 years, 15 of those focused on web-based applications using the Microsoft stack. An early adopter of Silverlight 3.0, he worked on countless enterprise Silverlight solutions, including the back-end health monitoring system for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and Microsoft’s own social network monitoring product called “Looking Glass.” He is both a consultant and project manager at Wintellect and works closely with Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft. He is a three-year Microsoft MVP and was declared MVP of the Year in 2010. He has also received Microsoft’s Community Contributor award for his work with Silverlight. Jeremy is the author of Designing Silverlight Business Applications: Best Practices for Using Silverlight Effectively in the Enterprise (Addison-Wesley). Jeremy regularly speaks, contributes articles, and blogs on topics of interest to the Microsoft developer community. His blog can be found at

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for first steps into Windows 8 9 May 2013
By Mike
Coming at this book with some experience of Windows Phone Development, this book was exactly what I was looking for. I felt there was good coverage of the topics that I was interested in. The chapter on Portable Class Libraries (PCLs) is something I was particularly interested in and it covered it well with examples given of the use cases in which it's useful with the example code available to back it up.

The code examples tend to be short and succinct and I didn't feel there was too much in the way of bloat as the background information provided put this code into context.

I read this predominantly during my commute to work without access to a computer or the code samples to run, but didn't feel that this hampered my understanding as the explanations were sufficient for me to grasp the concepts well enough to feel comfortable implementing them when appropriate.

The section on the history of Windows is perhaps a bit of a tangent to the nature of the rest of the book, but this was something I didn't have a great handle on before (being 7 when Windows 95 came out) so was useful for me to understand the Windows journey up to now.

All in all a good book, would recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for all levels of developer 15 Nov. 2012
Jeremy starts the book with a history of Windows and Microsoft development, before starting on the main part of the book - Developing Windows 8 Apps with C#. Starting with an introduction to the new features and layouts of Windows 8 applications and then delving into the detailed 'nitty gritty' of application development, including the all important aspects of tiles, toasts and charms.
Each topic is introduced from the basics so the reader never finds themselves looking at code that they have no idea what is going on.
Recommend this book to anyone looking at developing any Windows 8 applications.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected 30 Nov. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was OK, but I know you get a lot better out there. Descriptions were bloated and didn't really get to the point at times. Would prefer more of a tutorial driven book that guides you or gives you examples, rather than an bloated description without a good practical example following.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ok to start but not too deep 23 Jan. 2013
By Marcus Fenix - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is more like an introduction to Windows 8 App. You will get a history lesson of Windows development through the years, the book started nicely with the Image Helper app in a tutorial like fashion. The example throws an error (if you type the example as it is in the book), but author provided updated code. I got excited reading this chapter because of this tutorial step by step example, and I thought the book will continue this way all the way to the end, but no, that is it. Then you get random examples, author tells you to open the code and explains a few areas, but not the whole picture, so you keep wondering how this or how that works.

You need to read the example code and try to understand how things are connected. Especially things like the Visual State Manager on a Windows 8 app (Filled, Snapped, FullScreen), it looks like the app magically changes the view, but you have repeated code for each state and then things get hidden or displayed (there are some mentions, and you can figure that out reading the full code), but only devoted like 2 pages to the VSM, something that is very important. Doesn't give examples about doing something like this from scratch or how to modify the built-in templates. XAML section was brief, I know there are other XAML books, but there are many changes and specifics to the Windows RT apps, that I believe required more explanation than the one given. He touches the topics briefly, and lets you know that the option is there, but it doesn't go deep into almost any topic.

Another thing is that with the downloaded code examples, they include many custom helper classes. This is ok, but when you are trying to follow the book pages, and going through the code snippets, then if you are trying to write another sample app by yourself to do the proof of concept for each feature, then you cannot find those classes because they are not part of the core WinRT framework. So you need to copy and paste their own helper classes into your project. If instead you want to follow the book with the distributed examples, they only make sense, if before reading the book chapters, you have studied the downloaded code previously. This is fine again, but when you are trying to learn, this creates some confusion. They should have demonstrated all the features using the built-in classes and not custom classes.

There are many things that are mentioned and you get some paragraphs explaining more or less how they should work, but again very superficial

I am not saying this book is bad, it is an introduction and light foundation, but you need more compelling and tutorial like content to really learn. If you want to have an idea about how Win 8 apps work you can read this book. If you really need to write and understand in a detailed way how everything works and REALLY LEARN then get another book.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you know C# and you want a quick start on Windows 8 App development, I recommend this excellent book 30 Dec. 2012
By ArchieCoder - Published on
Review of Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML

During the holiday season, I received the Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML by Jeremy Likness. Holidays are the perfect time to read books! Before starting the book, I was curious to know if it would be useful to me, since I created my first Windows 8 app (Canadian Developer Connection) earlier this year where I included a lot of Windows 8 features. It turned out that I was very satisfied with the number of things I learned.

The reader should have extreme confidence in the content of the book, given the author's solid experience and background.

The book starts with a simple app that is more than just a "Hello World" app. After the first app, a beginner would be happy to read and learn more.

The author took the time to explain some "under the cover" mechanisms of the new Windows 8 Store app world. Yes, the Registry is still present more than ever. This information is very much appreciated.

Reading about the controls, the application lifecycle, the way to save data, the charms, the packaging, the deploying and more, the reader will get a complete picture of how to take advantage of Windows 8 features.

One of the most important aspects about programming is testing. Even though this aspect is not only related to Windows 8 development, the author dedicates a whole chapter to testing and the high importance of doing unit tests. The experiences that he wrote about proved that even more. For all levels of developers, this chapter is a good reminder of one of the aspects we tend to push aside.

Throughout the book, there is code that is available open-source. The book is a great companion to the provided code and some of the code can even be used in your own apps.

As for the physical aspects of the book, the font size is easy on the eyes. The book could have been a bit better if there were colors in the diagrams, but undoubtedly the price would have then been higher.

In conclusion, the book covers all the new cool features of the Windows 8 Store apps. If you know C# and you want a quick start on Windows 8 App development, I recommend this excellent book.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for WinRT insight 27 Feb. 2014
By just a guy with kids - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a blog follower of Jeremy, I've always been impressed with his writing. This book does not disappoint. Can't go wrong with his work in this book. Thanks Jeremy!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book gets straight to the point 7 Jan. 2014
By Richard A L Ellis - Published on
I have a number of books on this subject. I Like the approach taken and found the book to be very helpful
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Place to Start with Windows 8 Store App Development 20 Nov. 2012
By T. Anderson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is the perfect size and the perfect depth for getting up to speed quickly with building Windows 8 Store Applications.

The book starts by introducing WinRT. This introduction includes a really nice history of how Microsoft got to where they are now. It starts with a look back at MS-DOS, MS-DOS Executive, the Win32 API, COM, and.NET. The introduction leads us up to NUI (Natural User Interface) and the Windows Store Application Design Principles.

The first chapter ends with a look at the Windows 8 tool that are available to developers and designers. They include, Blend for Visual Studio, C++ and XAML, HTML5 and JavaScript, and VB/C# and XAML.

I have listed all the chapters below.

1. The New Windows Runtime
2. Getting Started
3. Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML)
4. Windows 8 Applications
5. Application Lifecycle
6. Data
7. Tiles and Toasts
8. Giving Your Application Charm
9. MVVM and Testing
10. Packaging and Deploying

The Getting Started chapter covers setting up your environment, which includes Windows 8, Visual Studio 2012, and expression blend for Visual Studio. It also covers the details of all the available project templates that come in the Windows Store category of Visual Studio's project templates.

The book then continues on with a nice overview of XAML. The author does a good job of covering a lot of topics as well as going in-depth enough to give you a thorough understanding of the topics that he chose to cover. XAML is a big topic, but the author did a great job of covering the essentials needed to get started.

Chapter 4, Windows 8 Applications, starts out with a nice overview of the Windows 8 simulator that comes with the development environment. The chapter continues on covering the application view states, semantic zoom, how to handle user input, mouse support, keyboard support, sensors, the application bar, and much more.

The one thing that the book really brought to light was a big flaw with the Windows Store Applications design. Not so much by explicitly pointing it, but rather by having nothing to say about it. That flaw being, a complete lack of capability for the applications to be run off-line with any sizable local data store. There really is no large data storage available to the Windows Store Applications beyond application state persistence. That raised a big red flag.

In searching the web, I found a lot of people having big issues with that. It looks like SQLite has come up with a solution they say will make it through the Windows Store approval process.

The chapter Giving Your Application Charm covers contracts and Windows 8 Extensions which allow for application information sharing handled at an operating system level. This is one of the coolest features built into Windows 8.

The book ends with a short chapter on MVVM and unit testing, and a short chapter on packaging and deploying.

The author has all the examples used in the book available for download. They're very well organized and usable. All of the examples ran without needing any modification.

Overall I found this book an enjoyable read. I thought the author's writing style made the book very easy to read from cover to cover. I will also be keeping it by on my side to use as a reference.

If you are planning on building Windows 8 Applications with C# and XAML, I recommend you start with this book. It will give you a great foundation on which to build your experience.
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